tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 28, 2014 6:47am-7:01am EST
to do that, because sometimes students cannot otherwise find on-campus exposure to those areas. but it does raise even in those instances courses of academic freedom that have to be looked at very closely, and it also underscores the institution's failure itself to provide that diversity of perspective that it needs. it is self-correcting. the institutions, if they are open to a diverse perspective and make themselves available, then they will find themselves in less difficulty with donors who want to prescribe to certain things, because they will have already done it on college campuses. >> you have a broader perspective on the topic i'm about to inquire into than most. i ask you, what pattern, what emerging trend do you see in the
envisioned role of three hallowed parts of our educational system, high school, college, and advanced study on two metrics? one is, the protection of students. protection of students from adverse things that might happen to them, and also on the metric of the breadth of study, broad versus specialized and narrow. i see high school in a different way and college as a different one and then also different is advanced study. but i welcome your views. >> i think you're right. in years past, we have relied on high school to provide a solid general foundation for exposures to foundational areas, such as math and science and nurture. and for better or worse, that has not been the case so that colleges and universities do find themselves having to provide that foundations that some high schools have not been
able to do. today, we have what i like to call the anything goes curriculum. you have the influence of postmodernism, which has affected a lot of things. since world war ii, our universities have been, frankie, swimming in it. universities did not have to pick and choose. again, professors had things they wanted to teach. schools did not really have limits on their resources. so it was easy to let teachers teach more and more. now, often we have often hundreds, even thousands of courses that will meet distribution requirements rather than a prescribed liberal arts education that will ensure that foundation.
and perhaps even more importantly, now you're getting so many students that come from very different preparations. and a general education curriculum that is well structured can help bring people from very different perspectives, very different preparations together over a certain set of common material. and getting to your earlier question, i think we worry about the range of civil discourse. this gets back to the lack of common foundation. in thomas jefferson's day, jefferson and madison were talking to each other and they could be sure that they knew what each other was talking about. they had read the same things and had the same foundation.
lots has happened since then. obviously, we have many more things to look at. but i do think that colleges and universities are missing out on using the curriculum to provide that common conversation that can help us unite. it won't mean we all agree, but we will have a foundation on which to have a discussion. i see these kids today who love the watt -- love to watch "the voice" and other shows, and i love those choice, too. and i think the reason they find them so enjoyable is that then becomes the common conversation that they have. instead of having a book -- a conversation about a book that they have in common, they are talking about the voice and other shows. i think we can help with that common conversation and help with life and community and civic engagement if we go back to a more structured curriculum where we ensure that we have --
that we all have that broad exposure, and will also make us much more nimble where in an economy between the ages of 18-45, on average, some of them will have 11 different professions. having that foundation and having that breadth is what in our current economy we really need rather than what we don't have. >> you essentially made the argument for the small liberal arts president who says, we need a basic liberal arts agenda for our students. i have two questions. one is, can you give us some examples of colleges or universities who have kept the broad curriculum with standards? and the other area i would be interested in is the people who have resisted the political correctness of this inviting speakers -- of uninviting speakers who are controversial. are these positive examples more typical of the small liberal
arts colleges, the larger and public and maybe nationally known institutions, or maybe the group in between, like the regional colleges or midsize like cleveland university? >> we did an assessment of the top-rated liberal arts colleges according to "u.s. news and world report, the amherst, the williamses, the burdens. and i must confess to these are probably the worst when it comes to having a prescribed liberal arts curriculum. we often hear that people no longer appreciate liberal arts education. we often hear this from the campuses. but after we did this research to see what the framework was of the curriculum that was offered to these students, we came away
with two -- with conclusions that there was nothing wrong with the students in liberal arts, but the way they were imparting the information. you can go to amherst and they could pride themselves on saying we don't have anything we require. we allow students to make their own curriculum. and i'm not denying the kids to go to amherst. they have many smart students and i'm sure they are well prepared. but it's interesting to look at a new book, which again i commend to everyone, academically addressed. it was put out by the university of chicago. what they found there was that after $200,000 of investment, to -- students were graduating with very little college gained. in the first two years, they found only 45% had cognitive gain. in the last six years, only one third showed cognitive gain.
in the institutions where they found greater variety -- that is a way of saying, you might be well prepared coming into amherst, but there is great education within these highly selective institutions. some students are being allowed to graduate without that foundation and that fundamental strength that they need and should have coming out of a very pricey liberal arts college. do i have some examples of some very good places? salon he s --olani is a place that we have looked at that has been very impressive. they do have a strong curriculum and they are competitive on their pricing. in terms of others, there is a small liberal arts public college in oklahoma that has done a beautiful job.
i think it is called the college of oklahoma arts and sciences and they have a very strong curriculum. bloomfield college in virginia has a very strong curriculum. there are schools, and in fact, interestingly, there are schools now that are viewing this as a means to carve out a niche, and a means to compete because they are then able to say, you send your child to our institution and you can be assured that student will receive a strong core curriculum. this isn't to say you cannot get a good education at almost any institution. you can, but you will have to do it yourself. and the american council of trustees alumni really believes it is incumbent on the adults who are in charge of our colleges and universities to make the choices and make the judgments about what students need to know to be able to do.
and if they are not going to make those judgments, then i consider at home and i can do a teaching company and i can teach myself, because frankly, that is what i would have been doing at the college campus, but i will be $200,000 wealthier. [laughter] this is what we are calling upon. it's a hard job and a job that faculty don't like to undertake, because it's a job that all faculty feels is what they love. all faculty feel that his or her field is the most important field. it's important for institutions to have this debate. they will not all come out with the same answer, but they will come together as a community to try to decide what they believe their institution should know and be able to do and that way the marketplace will also have a signal for it. they will know that if you went to this place, you will have gotten this kind of education. it is so pick and choose on
behalf of students and it is difficult to know what that particular graduate will have learned, because there is no set curriculum that can begin 19. [applause] -- that can be guaranteed. [applause] >> we have enjoyed our friday form featuring the cofounder of american trustees and alumni. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. this from is now adjourned. [bell] [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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